Degrees of Difference: Is an Associate Degree Right for You?

By UW Colleges

When it comes to higher education, there are many paths students can take to reach their goals. At UW Colleges, there are several degree options to start students on the right path to success. Whether you choose an Associate of Arts and Science degree, Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science (BAAS) degree, the Collaborative Bachelor's Degree Program, or take part in the Guaranteed Transfer Program while at UW Colleges, there are a lot of different factors to consider. Here are the major advantages of starting your educational path with UW Colleges.

1. Coursework

At UW Colleges, an associate degree provides a broad liberal arts-based general education with courses in fine arts, humanities, mathematical and natural sciences and social sciences. This allows you to explore your interest and hopefully find a potential career that you are truly passionate about. Students may also choose an emphasis for their associate degree and concentrate on one or more disciplines, such as business, engineering or pre-nursing. An associate degree with emphasis allows students to expand their knowledge in an area that interests them and may provides more job opportunities in the future. On the other hand, bachelor's degrees, such as those earned through the UW Colleges' Collaborative Degree Program, require more credits and offer greater depth of study in a specific field. By exploring your interest through the coursework from an associate degree, you build the foundation for a bachelor's degree.

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2. Transfer Opportunities

Because of the broad liberal arts education that an associate degree provides, many of the credits earned for that degree can count towards a bachelor's degree as fulfilling general education requirements. Through the Guaranteed Transfer Program, students who earn an associate degree at UW Colleges can apply credits completed towards their bachelor's degree at any UW System institution. In addition, UW Colleges also offers various Collaborative Bachelor's Degree Programs in which students can earn a bachelor's degree within the comfort of their local UW Colleges campus. UW Colleges provides general education courses while the cooperating UW System four-year school teaches the courses within the specified major.

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3. Employability

Earning a degree can significantly impact your employment opportunities after graduation. According to Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW), graduates with an associate degree earn nearly 33% more than those with only a high school diploma. Graduating with an associate degree from UW Colleges shows educational initiative and tells employers that you have the skills necessary to be successful. An associate degree also opens the doors to further your education by fast-tracking a bachelor's degree. According to CEW, those with a bachelor's degree earn 31% more than those with an associate degree and 74% more than those with a high school diploma alone. UW Colleges offers various ways to continue your education such as the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science (BAAS) degree program, Collaborative Bachelor's Degree Program and the Guaranteed Transfer Program.

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4. Tuition

While cost-per-credit may vary frm school to school, an associate degree is usually less expensive than a bachelor's degree, in part, due to the shorter time that it takes to complete. In addition, UW Colleges offers the lowest tuition in the UW System so students can further their education at an affordable price whither they pursue an Associate of Arts and Science degree, a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science (BAAS) degree or choose to transfer to another university to complete their bachelor's degree.

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5. Time

Another factor that sets an associate degree apart is the amount of time it takes to complete. For full-time students, an associate degree can be completed in two years, whereas a bachelor's degree usually takes four years to complete. With an associate degree, you can get ahead in a shorter amount of time by gaining a well-rounded education in a multitude of subjects from world class professors while exploring what truly interests you. In addition, since credits earned through an associate degree often transfer, you can fast track a bachelor's degree as well. At UW Colleges, once you graduate with an associate degree, you have the opportunity to go on to earn a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science (BAAS) degree through one of six UW Colleges campuses that offer the BAAS degree program or transfer to another UW System school.

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